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Sadr and Duvalier – Bad Guys Check in at The Democracy Motel

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Chalk it up as a bad week for democracy.

A few days ago, Muqtada Al Sadr comes back from his extended vacation in Iran to restore a little of his special brand of sanity to the Iraqi Government in Baghdad. And yesterday, Jean-Claude Duvalier, retired evil dictator who along with his evil dictator dad drove what was left of Haiti into a ditch checks into a luxury hotel to plot a return engagement in Port-au-Prince.

Neither of these characters has the words “avowed believer in democracy” on their blood-stained resumes.

So I’m guessing in both cases, Washington is none too pleased. In the case of Sadr, we’re talking about a guy who whipped up a very nasty insurgency and cost us plenty in lives and treasure. And as for Haiti, we’ve been dabbling with much failure in the place, since Duvalier was turfed out, and are powerless to do anything to stop him raiding the hotel mini-bar.

In both cases, an exhausted and disillusioned populace might well reinforce our own fears. They want these guys back, and they don’t want us. The fact that they’re wrong on a thousand different levels only points to something more fundamental. We did a terrible job of convincing the locals that we were the guys to make their world right. This despite many billions thrown into the maw of their catastrophes.

We shouldn’t have been there, but could still have done so much to effect serious change, because American power is best expressed through its economic and diplomatic influence. We could have exposed Saddam Hussein’s shell game on WMD without losing a man and brought him low by continuing to choke his regime with sanctions. And in the case of Haiti, we could have made simple changes to our trade treaties with the Haitian government to bring much wanted jobs to the Island nation, jobs that are currently outsourced to our arch-enemies in China.

But we didn’t. Not because we couldn’t but because we didn’t have the balls to extend our reach the right way, the smart way, the American way. It was America that helped coordinate the Stuxnet virus that has set the Iranian’s back a critical 3-5 years in their quest for nuclear weapons. Did we have to bomb the place? No. Did we have to spend billions? No. Did we succeed by being plain smart. Yes.

And what happens when we’re not.

Bad guys come back home and raid the mini-bar.

Let that be a lesson to those of little imagination.

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Written by coolrebel

January 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

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